New approach for Bath community libraries

Bath & North East Somerset Council has announced plans for a new approach for the delivery of a network of community run libraries across the region.

The council intends to work with local communities to identify the best way to develop this concept to ensure it meets local needs, building on existing successful community library projects, where volunteers run their own services.

The council is making £275,000 of upfront investment available to bring more community-focused libraries to many areas that currently have difficulty accessing library services.

Karen Warrington, cabinet member for Transformation & Customer Services, said: “We feel passionately that supporting local communities to develop their own approach to community libraries makes this service more sustainable in the longer term and gives local people more say over how they are run and what is on offer.

“In addition to the upfront investment, the council will continue to provide ongoing support to those running their community library. This is not about the council withdrawing support from local libraries – it’s about finding innovative solutions that can help keep our libraries open, and even expand them into new locations and new audiences. Under the council’s new approach these ‘libraries’ will be independently run and could be shared spaces and literally be anywhere - a café, a hall, a health centre or even a local shop. They could be very small or larger spaces with more room for events or space to meet, with range of books and materials tailored to meet local needs.”

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